Sunday, May 31, 2015

pillow swap four seasons - autumn edition

Sign ups are now open for the Autumn Edition of Pillow Swap Four Seasons found on flickr. Come join us!

What is it all about? We are a group of talented, international quilters and patchworkers who love to sew for each other four times a year using seasonal fabrics, motifs, designs, etc. according to the wishes and desires for one lucky recipient. The best part about our group, is that your partner remains one big secret until she/he receives her/his pillow case. You will also receive a pillow cover from a different person in return according to YOUR WISHES. No one knows who is sewing for whom until the final reveal date announcing all swap partners. It is sort of like "secret Santa" but four times of the year! You  will also be posting little sneak peeks of your creative process throughout the season and let the final pillow be a surprise for your partner. Anyone is allowed to join up as long as you have an active Flickr account.

Made for me by Karriofberries - Spring Pillow Swap

How does my "secret partner" know what I like? Before you submit a Google Form, we ask you to design a mosaic of items of interest or wishes for aN autumn pillow. The amount of ideas is up to you. You design your own mosaic. You can have six ideas or 40! This will be the starting point for the person sewing for you. Your partner will also be forwarded your personal information such as shipping address, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, blog, etc. so she can "stalk" you to find out your exact interests and your style.

Made for me by Karin - Summer Round

What do you need to do to sign up? (1) You must have an active Flickr account. (2) read and agree to the Rules and General Information of the group. (3) create a Flickr mosaic with your interests/style/wishes. (4) post your mosaic of your style/interests/wishes for pillow case in the Pillow Swap Four Seasons Flickr group and (5) sign up with the form below. We require a mosaic before you sign up to ensure your Flickr account is active, and the others can get started learning about you and your interest. Only your mosaic will be public for all to see.

My Mosaic for Autumn 2015

1. Pumpkin Mini Quilt - detail, 2. Vineyard at Dalla Terra, 3. Witchy toes, 4. buttons and pin cushion, 5. Free Quilt Pattern, 6. Appalachian Autumn, 7. Patchwork pumpkin, 8. Halloween Fabrics, 9. Perfect Apple Pie Recipe, 10. Pumpkin Patch, 11. Aspens in Wonderland, 12. pleated pillow tutorial, 13. Too Cute to Spook Pillow, 14. appliqued apple, 15. Peanut Carmel Apple, 16. Who has more sincerity than Linus? #Charlie_Brown #It's_The_Great_Pumpkin,_Charlie_Brown #Linus #Sally #Pumpkin_Patch, 17. Indie Pillow inspired by West Elm Kantha Chevron Pillows, 18. Handmade Autumn Swap-Pillow close-up, 19. Lone Tree detail, 20. Moonlit Scaredy Cat, 21. For Natalie, 22. Halloween Block, 23. Ruska Quilt - WIP, 24. autumn leaves, 25. Pillow Cover.

After we receive all forms, the group will be divided into three sub-groups according to skill level. We like to assign a new partner every round, too. The groups are also divided in such a way that even the swap mamas don't know who is sewing for them! That way, we have fun too!

After sign-ups close, you will receive a secret letter from one of the swap mamas (Sandra or myself) with the name and personal information of your partner. This information should remain secret. To ensure you are not "found out" by whom you are sewing for, it is best to stay in contact with all members of group and comment on all the photos others post! Stalk everyone! Not literally, of course! ;-)

Registration for the Autumn Round closes on June 12, 2015 so don't be shy. And please be 100% committed before you sign up. If your schedule is too busy at the moment, you can always join up for the Winter Edition. Check back at the beginning of September.

Autumn 2015
Registration: June 1 - June 12
Partners Assigned: Monday, June 15
Shipping Dates: Aug. 8 24 - Sep. 1
Announcement of Recipients: Monday, Sept. 15 

Registration Form
(Please click below to go directly to the Google form)

Registration is now closed.

Thanks for joining up and can't wait to see a whole new array of beautiful fall pillows!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

a simple pink skirt

May is definitely a holiday/vacation-packed month for us! We had three holiday weekends, and now the kids have two weeks off from school - Pentecost vacation (Pfingstferien)! How can a girl work around here with so many holidays? I thought there was only one week off from school and was woken up when we visited the family doctor (nothing major) who asked the kids what they had planned during their TWO WEEKS of vacation. They quickly understood I didn't get the memo on that one! Oh well, time for Plan B to kick in!

So, I haven't gotten a lot of sewing in this month, nor will I the next two weeks. But, with the time that I have, I have been exploring some new sewing for one! I had it on my agenda for a long time now that my daughter was going to get the cutest little girl's clothing a proud mommy could sew! I started something good!

First up, a long overdue pattern for my lovely daughter. Until this last weekend, I have only sewn one piece of clothing on my own. I bought a pattern many years ago and made my son a knight's tunic during Faschingszeit. It came out okay; I was proud of it. But it was definitely a learning curve with me! (I really should take a course from a real seamstress!) Since then, I bought two other patterns (for my daughter this time) and never got around to them. If you look closely, the pattern on the left will no longer fit my daughter which will soon to be eight years old.

The newest pattern (pictured below) I picked out for my daugther had six different possibilities she could choose from. The pattern reads easy and is originally in English/French with a German insert (translation). I could do this! I bought some fabric at our local fabric warehouse (Stoffwelt, Neu-Ulm) and asked for some help collecting the rest of the supplies needed! The very helpful ladies (granted I was shopping thirty minutes before closing) hooked me up with everything I needed.

I remembered from my first clothing sew, I was not supposed to cut out the flimsy pattern pieces (which I did) but trace over the copy paper over the pattern with a perforating roller. (You can see I am not an experienced clothing maker with my terminology!) For the most part, it worked with the roller...the important lines were transferred onto the pink fabric. I just had a few problems with the printed fabric since the white and/or yellow copy paper doesn't really want to show up. There must be another color out there??

I cut out all of my pieces and laid them out. I was full of confidence! Then on to the reading....reading the directions was so mind wrecking!! I didn't understand anything!! When it came time for the pleats, I got so nervous! It wasn't quite clicking in my head how this pleat would look. No problem, I put it down and come back later. It took me two-three days, but I finally got it! I don't think I followed the directions exactly as written, but my interpretation is pretty cool too!

The zipper seems a little unprofessional, but I'm okay with it as well. I was supposed to use a hook and eye closure at the top of the zipper, but thought a cute button and matching lining fabric would fit better for a little girl ripping it on and off! By the way, the inner lining fabric is by Jeni Baker that I bought at the Karlsruhe Patchwork Convention on SALE for 10€ a meter! I wanted to make the whole skirt from it, but thought I should use another fabric as my SAMPLE (learning from my own past mistakes)!

Thank you @lynnepusscat and @cosertejercrear for the support on IG! It was very rewarding to know I CAN sew clothing! I am now confident to sew a follow up skirt, too! It is a good thing I used my sample fabric first! Because even though I took my daughter's measurements, the size 8 was still too big! I sewed using the required 1,5 cm seam!

Thanks for dropping by! I would love to know what you are currently working on! Do you also take a break from patchwork to sew other things? Do you have some helpful advise or tips for new "wanna-be" seamstresses?

Monday, May 18, 2015

finally a finish?

A good week has passed since I posted last. I've been busy!! We had a couple of holidays the last few weeks. We actually have three long weekends in oh my, how do we ever get anything done with so many holidays?? ;-) I hope to post the whole week what I have been up to. Today I am sharing my advanced sampler with you.

My quilt top and backing are now finally at the Quilt-Oase. I wanted to get this finished up last year, and it was on my last year's To-Do List. Do you remember? It was the very first one on the list!!

I finished up my last block and laid out my sashing. I was showing my blocks and sashing to other quilters, and they were steering me in a direction I didn't want to go. I understand that my XL sashing and borders take away from the sampler blocks, but that is exactly what I was going for.I wanted the blocks to become a complete design on its own collectively as if they were printed on another piece of fabric. I am proud of myself for standing my ground, by the way!

I made my backing panel...and boy with this a monster; it measures about 95 x 115 inches! Fortunately, I had enough fabric in my stash to make it. I bought this gorgeous pink and orange fabric at a very quaint fabric/quilt shop somewhere in North Carolina on a trip three years ago that matching quite well with Kate Spain's Fandango. It was at a killer price and bought five or six yards of it. (I am not going to calculate the amount, seriously I could be could be seven). It was almost enough for the entire backing too! I made some quick large pluses to add some extra backing surface. I could have left the size as is for home quilting, but I want this one to be long arm quilted, since it it huge and will be time consuming! I went the extra mile to add ten inches to the height and width to accommodate the long arm machine. To do this, I first pieced the backing and then carefully slice it twice, once horizontally and once vertically where I eventually placed the white plus.


I even matched up the print in the backing when I sewed the WOFs together. I first sewed them using a 1/2" then realized I should have sewn using 1/4" to allow the pattern to repeat. I frogged it (ripped the seam) and sewed it again ;-)

So I bet you are a little curious to see how this is supposed to look in the end. This was my original design layout. It changed just a little, but the idea is still there! I reduced my border width by five inches each side to make better use of the white fabric. I used strips 11 inches unfinished for each side; therefore, I could get four strips from my fabric. You can see more pictures in my flickr album.

What did I learn this week? When you run into a problem, don't stress about it. Allow it to become a challenge and solve it with enthusiasm. Your new idea will be brilliant!

Thank you for dropping by! Time for me to go grab another cup of coffee and move on to another project. And no more samplers...well, I still have to finish up my patchwork group sampler, but that's it!!! How do you feel about samplers? Do you like to make them?

Friday, May 8, 2015

and the winner is......

Drumroll please....

Congratulations to Lucky Number 16, Joanna, for wining a copy of all of my patterns for sale at my Craftsy Shop...

and for winning one copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 11 Summer Edition 2015!! (The magazine will be sent directly from Quiltmaker's.) I will contact you through your email for a mailing address. If I cannot contact you within seven days, I will choose another winner. ;-) All entrants who did not answer the question were not included in the drawing! Sorry, you should have read the entire post to have been rewarded!! :-)

If you do decide to make Block #1033, the Gristmill Star, I would love to see it! I have opened a Flickr Group for you to post all things made with my patterns and tutorials! Be the first one to join, because it is still empty, waiting for your first photo to be uploaded!! I look forward to seeing all of your interpretations and gorgeous sews!!
Autumn Leaves at the Peaks

Thank you for dropping by along this spectacular blog hop from Quiltmaker's magazine. I hope to see you again, maybe again for the fall Volume 12!!

A special thanks to all of the designers who participated in the blog hop as well. I enjoyed reading about your blocks! Maybe I will even win something great!?

What did I learn this week? It isn't always a good idea to press your seams open on really small stuff. You might see the thread. And if it doesn't match, it could make a difference. 

Happy patching! Oh, and don't forget...the last day of the blog hop....go check out todays bloggers!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

gristmill star block #1033

Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Hop, Day Three .

My name is Karen Ackva of easypatchwork. I am an American living my dreams with my bi-national (German-American) family overseas. I design quilts, blocks, patterns, and tutorials (most of which are free). Sometimes, I even blog about my day-to-day challenges and experiences living in Germany. I have been quilting (called patchwork here) for more than 13 years and designing just as long.

Gristmill Star Block with House and Garden fabrics from Cloud 9

I am excited to share with you my very first block for Quiltmaker's! I am extremely honored that they chose my block for their eleventh issue and to be published in such an awesome magazine alongside so many other talented designers! Thank you, Quiltmaker especially Carolyn Beam and Kelly Eisinger. You two are the greatest!

My Style
I love making patchwork that is balanced. I usually do that by mixing prints and solids, warm colors and cold colors as well as the use of balanced designs, sometimes symmetrical and sometimes not. I love geometric prints and contrasting colors.

The Gristmill Star Block
This consists of a framed star with triangles in the corners. The emphasis in this color scheme is the star being the darkest color (a solid brown) and the frame and rays of middle tones/fabrics. This is also the original block found in the magazine, signed by me, and will eventually be raffled off or given away by Quiltmaker's.

Gristmill Star Block #1033 from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Summer Edition

You can change it up by exchanging the white frame stripes with printed fabrics to get a contrasting block. Also change the corner triangles to a lighter fabric but everything else should stay the same.

Gristmill Star Block Variation using some Tula Pink Fabrics

You can swap out the the four corner block fabrics in the star to get a spinning friendship star as shown on the right side of the quilt below. Make five blocks of each, add some interesting strips (plain and pieced) to get this beautiful full-sized quilt.

Quilt size ~ 50 x 60 inches with Gristmill Star and Variation

Or you can make just one block then add some improvised borders to make a great modern pillow. Fabrics from Windham Fabrics - Mimosa.

18 x 18 inch Pillow using the Gristmill Star Block
Or make three blocks (making sure one is a variation) and make this stunning table runner for a quick weekend or day project.

Table Runner using Three Blocks
Or if you love the look of scrappy, make four blocks in the same manner with all of them being scrappy. You will love how it turns out!

Wall Hanging or Table Topper ~ 24 x 24 inches with Gristmill Star Block

My Test Block
As a designer, you not only create new designs, but you want others to have an easy block or pattern that is truly do-able! You need to know it works and isn't just a designer block that no one can or would sew! Right? Well, I sewed this block together four times wanting to get it just perfect. And, sometimes, the first block is not the one that makes it into the magazine. Even though I should have know not to use the best fabric I have for a test block, I still went ahead and did it anyway!

Gristmill Star using Fussy Cut Tula Pink fabric
This was my very first block that I made. But since it is 1/2 inch smaller than the requirements, it didn't make the cut. Isn't it just too cute with the raccoons! I love Tula Pink fabric! Unfortunately, I didn't have any more fabric to make a second block with the special fussy cutting, the one featured in the magazine! I would have preferred this one! My three other blocks came out perfect, btw. :-)

My Addiction
And just the past weekend, I acquired some new fabric at the Patchwork Days in Dinkelsb├╝hl sponsored by the German Patchwork Gilde. I absolutely loved this fabrc and wanted to make something out of it immediately! I did just that, too!

Windham Fabrics, Paint Collection by Carrie Bloomston

I decided I would make a quick pillow case. I make a lot of pillow cases at the moment, because I am having so much fun with our group Pillow Swap Four Seasons found on flickr or with the hashtag #pillowswapfourseasons. BTW, registration for the Fall Round will open on June 1st if you love to make pillows according to the different seasons as well! We have room for 50 beautiful male and female patchworkers if you are interested!!

And by the afternoon, I had this! See all of the beautiful things you can make with this great new star block?! You can see more pictures of the Gristmill Star on my flickr account.

Gristmill Star featured in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Summer Edition 2015

Giveaway I
Stop by all of the designers featured on the blog hop today for your chance to win a copy of the Quiltmaker's 100 blocks. Follow their directions. ;-)

Giveaway II
Stop by Quilty Pleasures (Quiltmaker's Blog) and enter for your chance to win a copy of the magazine as well as many other daily prizes! You might even find a pattern from me there. <wink, wink>

Giveaway III
And if that is not enough chances to win a copy, I also have one copy of the magazine to give away to one very lucky reader that will be shipped directly from Quiltmaker's. Are you excited? Not yet? Then what about this..... I will send you, the winner of the magazine from my site, a copy of EACH PATTERN I have for sale in my Craftsy shop! This includes Mystic Rainbow Chevron, Destiny's Trail Nine Patch, Wrist Pin Cushion for Sewists, Perfect Wrist Pin Catcher, Autumn at the Peaks Wall Hanging + Template, Tilted Kimono Butterfly Foundation Template and the Simple Four Inch Star Foundation Template all for one lucky patchworker!!

Copies of Patterns from easypatchwork to GIVEAWAY!

All you have to do is leave a comment in the section below stating your favorite fabric designer or the fabrics you would choose to make this block. (One entry per email address.) Also, please leave your email address if you are a no-reply blogger. If you don't know if you are one or not, put your email address down anyway. I will contact you per email for your shipping address. On Friday morning, 9am (German time), I will choose a random number for one lucky winner of the magazine - Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 11 and all of my listed patterns!


Please don't forget to stop by each blog featured on Quilty Pleasures on the date listed for an additional chance to win a free copy of the Summer Edition of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks as well as some other very juicy prizes such as fabrics, notions, patterns, and other quilty goodies!!